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NCJ Number: 66988 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: LAWYERS AND CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS - AN EMPIRICAL STUDY (FROM RESOLUTION OF MINOR DISPUTES, 1979 - SEE NCJ-66984)
Author(s): S MACAULAY
Corporate Author: US Congress
House Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Admin of Justice
United States of America

US Congress
House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Finance
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 128
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
US Congress
Washington, DC 20515
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PROFESSIONAL ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES OF LAWYERS IN WISCONSIN WERE STUDIED IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN THE IMPACT OF RECENT CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS ON THE DELIVERY OF LEGAL SERVICES.
Abstract: IT IS CONTENDED THAT THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW, WHICH PAINTS THE ATTORNEY AS ONE PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH THE APPLICATION OF THE LAW AND AS A RELATIVELY PASSIVE REFLECTION OF THE CLIENT'S WISHES, IS AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION WHICH HAS MISLED THOSE DRAFTING REFORM LEGISLATION. RECENT CONSUMER REFORM MOVEMENTS CALL ON ATTORNEYS TO PROMOTE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN SITUATIONS WHEN THEY ARE NEITHER WILLING NOR ABLE TO DO SO. THESE OBSERVATIONS RESULTED FROM ABOUT 100 PERSONAL AND TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS HELD WITH PRACTICING WISCONSIN ATTORNEYS SELECTED TO REPRESENT A VARIETY OF LEGAL BACKGROUNDS AND TYPES OF PRACTICE. IN ADDITION, SELECTED LAWYERS RESPONDED TO A QUESTIONNAIRE ON THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH THE MAGNUSON-MOSS WARRANTY ACT, AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF CONSUMER RIGHTS LEGISLATION. THESE INQUIRIES FOUND THAT LAWYERS OFTEN ACT WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE APPLICABLE LAW AND PLAY CONCILIATORY RATHER THAN ADVERSARY ROLES AND THAT THEIR SELF-INTEREST SIGNIFICANTLY INFLUENCES THEIR DECISIONS ABOUT WHAT CASES TO TAKE AND WHAT TACTICS TO PURSUE. THE SURVEY SHOWED THAT ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF POTENTIAL CONSUMER CLAIMS ARE BROUGHT TO LAWYERS. MOREOVER, LAWYERS PRACTICE A VARIETY OF TECHNIQUES TO AVOID INVOLVEMENT IN SUCH CASES. VERY RARELY DO LAWYERS PLAY THE EXPECTED ADVERSARY BARGAINER-LITIGATOR ROLE IN CONSUMER CASES BECAUSE OF THE COST AND LITIGATION PROBLEMS INVOLVED. FURTHERMORE, LAW FIRMS FREQUENTLY REPRESENT POWERFUL CONCERNS IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY WHOSE INTERESTS CONFLICT WITH THOSE OF CONSUMERS. IN FACT, LAWYERS PLAY THEIR TRADITIONAL ADVOCACY ROLES BY REPRESENTING THESE POWERFUL CLIENTS IN CONSUMER LITIGATION. A DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH, FOOTNOTES, TABULAR DATA, AND REFERENCES ARE APPENDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Attorneys; Citizen legal problems; Consumer advocates; Consumer protection; Consumer protection laws; Professional conduct and ethics; Wisconsin
Note: WORKING PAPERS FROM DISPUTES PROCESSING RESEARCH PROGRAM OF UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66988

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